Tuesday, November 19, 2013



Calder Shadows cast a new venue of the artist’s mobiles and stabiles in an exhibition that dramatizes kinetic shadow impressions in a group of rare Calder works.  Showcased in darkness---the ‘Venus Over Manhattan gallery in New York invites you to step into the expansive dark gallery, where each of Calder’s sculptures, created between 1929 and 1974, are lit so that its shadows become the exhibition’s subject.
WHIM OF THE LIGHT Dancing on the walls and moving at the whim of a light breeze or gently prodded  the shadows cast on the walls, ceiling, and floor of the gallery provide a fascinating interpretation of the metal forms on display.  Ever changing the wire versions become oscillating line drawings and flat metal forms become independent presences. The fascinating shadows captivate attention as the shadows seemingly change position and present an entirely different view of the object. Case in point: A mobile does not stand still and as it gently moves a new perspective of the work emerges as a different shadow version on the wall.
CALDER'S OEUVRE Calder’s mechanized works gave way to his mobiles and stabiles, sculptures that disparate metal elements, made from bent wire and flat sheet metal cut-outs were constructed with such masterful equipoise that their movements occur naturally and unpredictably in response to the energy of surrounding atmosphere.  
INSPIRATION After visiting Piet Mondrian’s studio in 1930, Calder began the experiments with abstract construction that would come to define his oeuvre. He drew inspiration from the playful work of Joan Miro and Paul Klee, making hand cranked and motorized kinetic sculptures that challenged the definition of a sculpture as a form fixed in time and space.
CALDER REMEMBERED As a student in the mid-1920s, the man who would become the celebrated sculptor, painter, illustrator, printmaker and designer, worked for the National Police Gazette newspaper and was assigned to sketch the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  One of the artist’s most enduring beloved works, first fashioned in 1926, is his Cirque Calder; a miniature circus made from wire, string, rubber and found materials, which today resides in the Whitney Museum of Art in New York. Today his works can be seen in other prestigious museum collections.
Alexander Calder (1898-1976), the renowned American artist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and died in New York City, which often proclaims him as their own native son.
VENUS OVER MANHATTAN is located at 980 Madison Avenue, between 76th and
 77th streets, on the third floor and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday
 from 10 am-6pm. Additional info contact: info@andreaschwan.com
Polly Guerin author: The Cooper-Hewitt Dynasty of New York (History Press 2012) 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

MILLER, JOE Lyrical Landscapes By Polly Guerin

The imprint of being born and raised in the mountains of the West is perhaps the core influence of visionary painter, Joe Miller’s lyrical body of work. His boldly rendered paintings of land forms, rainwater and rivers, mountains and rocks present nature in paintings that are not a pictorial representation of place. Instead Miller’s imagination takes the viewer on a journey where the essence of the place translates into shapes, lines  and forms rendered in sun-drenched colors and pigment reborn with angularity and a mystical aura. Pictured left: "In Deep Woods." 
THE ARTSOURCE INTERNATIONAL Unique and exciting art works are presented in Joyce Towbin Chasan’s loft showroom, The Artsource International, LLC. She recently presented Joe Miller’s body of work, including paintings, watercolors and drawings in her creative exhibit space at 333 Park Avenue South, Suite 2A, New York City. Ms. Chasan, a successful gallery owner and art consultant is very selective in presenting artists and Joe Miller’s exhibit does not disappoint. The inquiring public  can view the show by appointment through November 30th; call 917.295.5016 or email joycechasan@aol.com. 

THE ESSENCE OF PLACE The artist states, “I paint from my imagination because I prefer to paint with a relatively free line with shapes and colors unrestrained from the brush and the color demands of realism.” His oeuvre creates dynamic compositions that draw the viewer into paintings that clearly take inspiration from nature, but astonish by their emphasis on minimalistic shapes and color impact. Miller works in a variety of media and infuses his work with elegant, minimal lines that evoke dynamic compositions in large- scale paintings. Pictured above: Detail from "Below the Mountain."  Check out Joe Miller’s website: joemiller4.com.
The artist says, “My imagination is excited by landscapes set above and below, and beyond the sea. As in the desert I still work from my vision.” Of his paintings Miller concludes, “These colors, shapes, marks and lines are like musical instruments capable of producing a beauty in their relationships and controlled freedom of application.” 

Saturday, October 26, 2013


THE FASHION WORLD of JEAN PAUL GAULTIER FROM the SIDEWALK to the CATWALK: This theatrical spectacle, the first international exhibition celebrating the career of the legendary French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier, who has shaped the look of contemporary fashion with his avant-garde designs, makes its only east coast stop on an international tour, organized by the MMFA, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, Paris. Where? At the Brooklyn Museum on view through February 23, 2014.  “I am proud and honored that this exhibition is presented here, where the true spirit of New York lives on. I was always fascinated by New York, its energy, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, that special view of the sky between the tall buildings,” said Gautier of the Brooklyn presentation where some mannequins seemingly come alive, their eyes blink, the lips move and the words uttered grip the viewer with uncanny realism.
THE COLLECTION This breath-taking overview of Gautier’s extensive oeuvre includes exclusive material not exhibited in previous venues of the tour, such as pieces from his recent haute couture and ready-to-wear collections and stage costumes worn by Beyonce.  The 150-piece lineup, curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, MMFA, includes some of Gaultier’s most iconic pieces, like Madonna’s original cone-bra bustiers and bare-breast suspenders, and looks from his collection inspired by Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. There are several pieces that have never been exhibited before, including a glittery jumpsuit worn by Beyonce.
AVANT-GARDE DESGINS Distinctively different from traditional couture, Gaultier’savant-garde designs demonstrate a deep understand of the issues And preoccupations of today’s multicultural society. For inspiration he has turned to a variety of cultures and countercultures.  The show is organized into seven thematic sections: The Odyssey, The Boudoir, Muses, Punk Cancan, Skin Deep, Metropolis, and Urban Jungle. Accompanying the designs are sketches, excerpts from films, concerts, and dance performances, and photographs by Richard Avedon, Any Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and others---all testifying to the daring genius of Jean Paul Gaultier.
AMAZING LIFE-LIKE MANNEQUINS You will need to take a second look as the fascinating mannequins seemingly talk the talk and flirt with you. Many of the mannequins used to display Gaultier’s designs revolve to reveal all angles of an ensemble.  Some circulate on a continuously moving catwalk and many wear remarkable wigs and headdresses created by renowned hairstylist Odile Gilbert and her Atelier 68 team.  Throughout the galleries, thirty-two of the mannequins come alive with interactive faces created by technologically ingenious high-definition audiovisual projections. A dozen celebrities, including Gaultier himself, model Eve Salvail, and bass player Melissa Auf de Maur, have lent their faces and their voices to this project. The production and staging of this dynamic audio-visual element is the work of Denis Marleau and Stephanie Jasmin of UBU/Compagnie de creation of Montreal. Jolicoeur International of Quebec realized all the custom-made mannequins with different skin tones and positions.
ORIGINS OF DESIGNAs for inspiration Gaultier admits, “If I do fashion, it’s because of “Falbalas,” a movie from the 1940s, before I was born. It was about a couturier at a Paris couture house, inspired by a woman to give him the idea for a collection. He made a beautiful collection because he was in love with her. It was so explicit, so perfect in the description of the workings that when I started to work at Cardin and Jean Patou, I thought, ‘Oh, but I am in Falbalas.”’ One of the most adorable items in the show is Nana, Gaultier’s childhood teddy bear that, at age six, he customized with a cone-like bra made from newspaper pinned onto the stuffed animal. "It was before Madonna,” he said.
For his part, Gaultier hopes visitors will “not be bored but surprised and amused, and have a good time and fun.” 

Polly Guerin, author, COOPER-HEWITT DYNASTY OF NEW YORK (History Press, 2012)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

INTERROBANG ?! Puntuation Remembered (c) By Polly Guerin

Saturday, October 19, 2013

INTERROBANG ?! Punctuation Remembered (c) By Polly Guerin

With the popularity of personal shorthand text messages and tweets with as many abbreviations that the human mind can think up, could the Interrobang punctuation have a new place in today’s culture?

Also known as the quesclamation mark, it sometimes appeared as ?!” A stylish fusion of a question mark superimposed on an exclamation point the mark was used at the end of a rhetorical question for use in sentences like, “You did that?!” At first Interrobang was not available in type and the combined symbols were hand drawn by lettering artists. However, the Interrobang deserves its due recognition as it is the only punctuation mark invented by an American and was also featured in Americana (font). To this end we owe a note of gratitude to Martin Speckter, one of the original “Mad” men in advertising’s hall of fame.

INTERROBANG'S ORIGIN It was introduced in 1962 by Martin Speckter, president of the New York advertising and public relations agency, Martin K. Speckter Associates, Inc. In addition to running the agency with his wife, Penny Speckter. Martin was editor of the magazine, Type Talks, a trade publication put out by The Advertising Typographers Association of America. Speckter invited readers of the magazine to coin a name for the new mark and of all the names submitted Interrobang was chosen. It is a blend of interrogation and bang, an old printer's term for the exclamation mark. It is significant to note that Interrobang is the only punctuation invented in the 20th century. The mark was eventually made available on some typewriters and recognized by several dictionaries. Interrobang continued to be popular much of the 1960s during the time that the television series “Mad Men” is set.

Pictured Left; MARTIN SPECKTER with early interrobang designs. Image from the World-Herald, June 1967.

INTERPRETING INTERROBANG The mark is said to be the typographical equivalent of a grimace or a shrug of the shoulders. For example, the Interrobang could be used in expressions like this “You call that a hat ?!” Most significantly from a business point of view Speckter believed that advertising copywriters needed a new mark to punctuate exclamatory rhetorical questions common in advertising headlines. For example: “What ?! Whiter than White?!” In Allan Haley’s feature “The Interrobang is Back?! he wrote: “In this type of copy, neither an exclamation point nor a question mark (used alone) could fully convey the writer’s intent. Speckter’s solution was to combine the two into a single symbol.”

Penny Speckter, Martin’s widow keeps the Interrobang flame still burning brightly in her memories about the mark’s creator and his passion for typography. Well into her 90s, Penny still fulfills her role as the quintessential “Mad Woman.” Today she is editor of GSMT NEWS, the newsletter for The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York, whose motto is “By Hammer and Hand All Arts Do Stand. Penny also serves on the organization’s Board of Governors.

GSMT is located at 20 West 44th Street, New York 10036. www.generalsociety.org

Friday, October 4, 2013

LINOSSIER, CLAUDIUS Art Deco Master Metal Smith By Polly Guerin

There are some artists who were stars in their time and glittered on the stage of celebrity, but are unfairly forgotten today. However, in the treasures of French applied arts I am referring to the renowned Art Deco Metal Smith: CLAUDIUS LINOSSIER (1893-1953).  Linossier’s work was unique, and full of subtle beauty.   He was a craftsman who is considered as the greatest purist of the Art Deco period for his incredible creation of works on metal and favored geometric patterns, but created figurative designs as well. He was drawn to the technique referred to as dinanderie, which took its name from the Flemish town of Dinant, a center for brass works during the Middle Ages.  Today galleries and collectors are rediscovering the exceptional artist from Lyon. Claudius Linossier’s work comes full circle in the art world on view at the Primavera Gallery, in New York City and at the Galerie Michel Giraud in Paris.

 MASTERY OF METAL Linossier was an admirer of Etruscan pottery, and used this as inspiration for many of his forms. For those unfamiliar with the work, metal incrustation is a painstaking and demanding technique.  He began with silver and copper, hand-raising each piece, and adorning it with silver and inlay, but soon he wanted more color, and began developing his own alloys.  During Linossier’s lifetime his work was represented by the greatest galleries and respected and admired. Today his oeuvre has been sustained by the most important art lovers, collectors and patrons around the world and his art works are commanding soaring prices at auction houses.

STUDY WITH DUNAND The artist started working metal very young, first in a goldsmith shop in Lyon, his home town, and later in two Parisian workshops. Then it came a time to work for the Master Dinandier Jean Dunand. In the opposite of Jean Dunand, who finally devoted himself only to his famous lacquer, Claudius Linossier was faithful to the dinanderie tradition during all of his production, creating cubist decors, through an exceptional hand-made process. His decorations, geometric or in stylized archaism, were composed of metal encrustations.  The bodies of the pieces were brightened either by the shaded grey of silver, by the pale gold of yellow copper or by the dark purple of red copper, magnified by the violent action of fire.  Part of Galerie Michel Giraud’s booth at the Paris Biennale des Antiquaries 2012 was dedicated to works of Linossier and drew record visitors. If you want to see some of Linossier’s magnificent vases visit Primavera Gallery at 210 11th Avenue at 25th Street,, Floor 8, New York. Tel 212.924.6600.
Linoissier’s work was featured in several stands at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decorarifs et Industriels Modernes,, Paris, Salon of  Societe des Artistes Francaise and Salon d’Automme. In 1932, Linossier was elected to the Legion d'Honneur.
Polly Guerin Author: The Cooper-Hewitt Dynasty of New York (History Press 2012) Go to http://www.pollytalk.com

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Friday, September 6, 2013

AUGUST VENTURA channeling Verdi and his film "27" (c) By Polly Guerin

It’s not every day that someone turns 200 and there is cause for celebration in the year 2013, which marks the bicentennial of Giuseppe Verdi, arguably the most influential musician of his generation. So it is timely and a fitting tribute to the great musical genius that August Ventura, author, film maker and Verdi devotee is preparing a documentary film entitled “27” about the people of the Parma, Italy and their unique relationship with the composer’s 27 operas. Mr. Ventura is a visionary, a man who brings to the audience a rare and provocative essay revealing the famed city of Parma, its celebrated opera lovers in the cafes and Verdi Clubs.

PWSA I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend an introduction to Mr. Ventura’s oeuvre presented by PWSA, the Professional Women Singers Association, held at the historic landmark Players Club. Founded in 1982 PWSA’s mission is to advance the careers of women singers and promote excellence and functions as a network of distinguished singers who support each other in their professional careers. Marguerite Roberti the featured singer in the film may be a singer from a bygone era, but she captivates the audience with recollections of performing in the early 60s as well as insights into her own brave career choices.

RETURNING to “27” Mr. Ventura is a writer, historian, archivist, and is as passionate about his film as he is about Verdi operas. He has wedded history and opera in a film that offers a fascinating glimpse into Parma, Italy’s cognoscenti, the Club of 27, the Verdi Clubs, and the city’s famed "loggionisti” at the Teatro Regio. Most captivating are the images of the everyday people whose devotion to opera permeates their life, and as if Verdi was an elixir of love, even the street sweeper bursts out in operatic song. Ventura’s talk was capped by a live-Skype conversation with Margherita Roberti who now lives in California. For more information about the film, go to www.27adocumentary.com. For more information about PWSA and to learn about membership go to their website: www.womensingers.org. Mr. Ventura who is on the lecture circuit promoting his film can visit his website at www.27adocumentary.com or contact him at augustvent1@mac.com

Men Great Visionaries brings to light the many individuals who have created, explored and contributed to the world through their talent and determination to produce and uphold the very best achievements in their business and personal endeavors.